LLOYDS, the UK state-backed bank, and US hedge fund Och Ziff are considering selling their 48 per cent holding in Vue Enertainment.
The cinema chain is part of Lloyd’s integrated finance portfolio, made up of stakes in 43 companies, which it inherited when it bought HBOS in 2008. Lloyds plans to sell the portfolio to a joint venture led by investment and private equity company Collier Capital,
It is understood the stakes could be sold at auction before the end of the year. But no shareholder can sell their stake without the permission of Vue’s management, which owns a majority 51 per cent stake in the business.
Vue’s management is currently conducting a “strategic review” and has not ruled out the option of selling its stakes as well . The company is estimated to be worth up to £440m.
Vue has a market share of over 20 per cent and has 100 screens with 3D capability. The recent success of Avatar means it is likely the industry will see an influx of 3D films being screened over the next year.
Lloyds has been trying to sell the integrated finance portfolio since spring 2009 but was put on hold following its own radical restructure.
The portfolio was set up in February 2000 under Peter Cummings, the disgraced former head of HBOS’s aggressive loan book. The division pioneered deals in which HBOS issued debt and took equity stakes in the same company. Its investments included deals with health club chain David Lloyd Leisure, shirtmaker TM Lewin and the Sunseeker yacht company.